Photo by: Annie Spratt
At an age where many are past the Easter bunny and egg hunts, what kind of traditions do university students associate with Easter? To Brock students, what types stick out the most from childhood — and how has a typical Easter changed for these students as they moved into adulthood?
Many children often participate in an egg hunt in which participants find eggs scattered around, often filled with candy or chocolate. But as kids grow up, these traditions are often left in the dust.
For Maya Kerr, a second-year con-ed student, some of the most memorable Easter memories come from spending time with loved ones.
“As a kid, I always remember going to my grandparents’ house for multiple days at a time, going for a family hike and having a massive Easter dinner followed by an Easter egg hunt with all of the cousins,” said Kerr.
Having a large Easter meal is not an uncommon concept for many who celebrate the holiday. In fact, many foods are considered traditional for families to enjoy during Easter, with many choices often establishing themselves as annual occurrences.
Many students who live away from home travel back during holiday seasons, which can sometimes lead to stress adjusting back to life at home. But for Kerr, the moments she gets to spend with family are seen as excellent opportunities to reconnect with loved ones.
“Similar to when I was a kid, it is still my favourite tradition to go to my grandparents’ house for the large Easter dinner,” said Kerr. “It is a great time for us all to get together, because we don’t get the opportunity to see each other all that often throughout the year.”
Kerr appreciates the time she spends with family over the Easter weekend but notes that her school priorities make it challenging to take advantage of the entire long weekend.
“When I went away to university, the biggest change was that I didn’t get the chance to stay for the entire weekend, just because it is such a busy time of the year school-wise,” said Kerr.
Hayley Bando, a third-year dramatic arts student, also has fond Easter memories from her childhood. One of her childhood memories of the holiday is participating in egg hunts.
“We used to have an egg hunt. It was me and my sister, and our ‘Easter bunny’ would have plastic eggs with our names on them hidden all around the house,” said Bando. “We’d go and find them, and at the very end of the hunt, we’d have this big Easter basket full of gifts, specifically chosen for my sister and I.”
Bando remembers being a firm believer in the Easter bunny, and remembers getting lots of Ring Pops due to her fondness of the candy. As she grew older, her eggs no longer came in plastic containers, because — as Bando put it — “candy’s candy.”
Bando mentioned that her belief in the Easter bunny started to falter when she stopped believing in Santa in third grade. After a parental accident that led to Bando discovering the truth about Santa, she pretended to continue believing for three years, fearing that she would get fewer Christmas gifts if her parents found out that she knew the truth.
Despite no longer believing in the Easter bunny, Bando continues to believe in the ideas the folkloric creature represents.
“I believe in the spirit of it; same thing with Santa,” said Bando. “It’s not necessarily a physical being, but the kind of energy that comes along with it.”
Even without the Easter bunny, Bando still has traditions that her family enjoys during the Easter long weekend. Painting Easter eggs with food colouring, hot water and vinegar is important to her mother, so Bando has continued with the tradition even after her childhood.
“That’s one thing —- it doesn’t matter how old we are; she makes us do that. Yesterday, she made me get out of bed to do them with her. As much as I feel like, ‘ugh, do we have to do this?’, it’s kind of nice that we still have something like that to do.”
Bando also mentioned her family’s tradition of playing card games during the end of major holidays, citing the importance of spending time together through ways that do not involve electronic devices.
“There may be a lot of arguments when we all think everybody else is cheating, because we just can’t handle losing — but that’s something we do during every holiday.”
Like Kerr, Bando is unable to spend as much time with her family during most holidays due to her demanding school schedule. Rather than growing distant from her family, however, this separation has made Bando appreciate holidays like Easter more than ever.
“In first year, I was able to go home whenever I wanted. In second year, I did that a little bit more — but this year it’s been a little bit more difficult leaving, just because there’s so many things and responsibilities I have at school that I need to attend to,” said Bando. “So when I come home, it means a little bit more to me than when I was younger. Now, I know I’m not going to always have that.”
Although the holiday might mean something different to them than it did as children, that doesn’t mean that these Brock students no longer find their Easter traditions special.